16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Global initiative to fight desertification: DESIRE

7 April 2007, Saturday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
The Turkish leg of an EU-funded project, Combating Land Degradation and Desertification (DESIRE), launched to raise awareness about soil erosion, increase productivity in agricultural activities and provide farmers with efficient solutions, has started its activities.  The project is said to be the greatest one ever supported and funded by the EU.
In a statement to a reporter from the Anatolia news agency, Mutlu Gürler, secretary-general of the Nature and Environment Association and one of the experts taking part in the project, said that the 18 global hotspots at the highest risk of desertification -- which including the Eskişehir and Konya Karapınar basins -- had been determined by the DESIRE project team.

The people in the selected regions will be educated to have a better grasp on soil erosion and other strains of desertification, Gürler noted, and added that it was only the experts speaking in Turkey on the issue but that the experience of the local people was also sorely needed to develop more effective solutions.

"We expect to elevate people to the level of an average expert for them to be more aware of the environment they live in. Our experts will provide training using the local terms and without resorting to technical terms which would mean nothing to an ordinary farmer," he said.

Financial backing

They will provide small enterprises with economic support with the help of this 9 million euro project -- of which 7 million euros is to be funded by the EU and the rest by various world governments -- Gürler said, adding that presentations on the project had been made to the governorships of Eskişehir and Konya.  Gürler stressed that similar projects would now be modeled on the current one and carried out in accordance with its results.

About the project

The DESIRE project is a global initiative with 20 partners from the EU and northern Africa, and eight partners from elsewhere. The project duration will be five years, slated to begin soon, and contract negotiations have recently been concluded. Its main aims are to develop and test promising prevention and remediation strategies against desertification and land degradation in 18 hotspot areas around the world in close cooperation with local stakeholders, and to disseminate the results to different forums amongst others using a web-based harmonized information system.

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